Panama bid to solve ship crash mystery

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 April, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 April, 1993, 12:00am

PANAMA may send a maritime investigator to Hongkong to unravel the confusion which led to a collision between two container ships.

The Panamanian Consul-General Mr Raul Adames said he was still seeking statements from the captains of the Wing Lee No 1 and the Marine Brave.

Lawyers and insurance inspectors took statements from the captains and surveyed the ships yesterday to prepare for any civil court cases and official Panamanian inquiry.

Blame was often split proportionally between ships in similar cases.

The two ships were locked together for eight hours after the Marine Brave's bow ploughed into the starboard side of the Wing Lee in thick fog at dawn about 100 miles northeast of the territory.

Last night the two ships were lying off Hongkong after both were cleared to enter the harbour.

The gaping hole in side of the 4,164-tonne Wing Lee was roughly 10 metres deep and 10 metres wide, stretching from water level to the top of the hull.

Repairs to the Wing Lee may take more than a month while the damage to the bow of the 5,981-tonne Marine Brave seemed mild in comparison. The vessel may return to Taiwan in the next few days with a new load of general cargo.

Local Marine Department officials have criticised the incident, attributing it to needless human error, but do not have any jurisdiction as the incident happened in international waters.